A Scamp and Her Grammy

Today my grammy would have turned 75. I say would because she was killed in a car accident in 1996. She would never start her car until all of us had our seat belts on, but she herself refused to wear one. That choice ultimately cost her life.

While she battled many demons (drugs, weight and addictions) I was too young to know any of that, so to me, she was just my grammy. She was fun, told the best stories and had zebra print carpet in her TV room.

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Frances Ann was only 20 when my mom was born. I’m not sure if it was hard for her or not, doing the single mom thing before she married my grandpa, but pictures like this make me think she did the best she knew how.

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That adorable little creature is me circa 1988. It is clear that she loved being a grandma. Some of my favorite memories as a child involve swimming in her pool in Palm Springs or having milkshakes at Hamburger Hamlet. She was a horrible secret keeper and she used to ask Kelly (who is also a horrible secret keeper) to trade secrets about Christmas gifts with her (it usually worked).

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I think this picture best sums up how I remember her. She never took that necklace off, she was always wearing big glasses, and she always smelled like Red Door. For awhile my mom had a garment bag that belonged to my grandma. I used to open it up because every time I did, it smelled like her. My mom finally got rid it when it stopped smelling of her.

One of my favorite memories of her was one weekend we spent in Palm Springs I got a horrible ear infection. While we were waiting in the emergency room, she drew a picture of me getting a shot in the butt with a very large needle. She had my brother and sister rolling, and had me in tears scared to death. I don’t know what happened to that picture, but I wish I still had it.

On the 15th anniversary of her death I got a showgirl tattooed on my back with her initials. My grammy loved Vegas, and loved to gamble, but the tattoo had to be a showgirl. One of my favorite pictures was one that she took on a weekend trip. It is a picture of her head superimposed on a showgirl’s body. She loved that photo and used to joke with people that that was her in a former life.


I spent the day eating a club sandwich, drinking a Coke and watching Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. It is a tradition that my family shares every year on this date. It is a tradition that I take comfort in, no matter where I am or how I am feeling. She may not have been perfect, but she was my grammy and I love her.

This day is hard for my mommy. Those of you that know her, give her a hug, or send her a text reminding her how amazing she is and how proud her mom would be of her.

A Scamp and St. Patrick

The day was good and merry, but some things are better left in the moment. I had an amazing time with my friends, and hope that I can sweet talk the boys into throwing more parties so we can have more ridiculous nights before we all must go our separate ways.

Instead, enjoy one of my favorite songs to sing on St. Pat’s Day

Tomorrow starts a week of research and prep work for my classes, and a meeting that will  decide the fate of my dissertation and my return date to the U.S. I’m hoping for May, but preparing for the scenario that keeps me here longer.

If I have to stay, how many of you can I sweet talk into coming to visit?

A Scamp Flirts with a Naked Warewolf

The rain is thwarting my plans for today. I had gifts and things that I wanted to send, books that need to be returned to the library, and I really wanted to go for a hike.  Since I am stuck inside, I have decided that it might be a good idea to start working on some of my final assignments. The first paper due is for the children’s literature class. I’m looking at various versions of the Three Little Pigs. I feel that spending the day reading the different versions will be a good use of my time.

The most recent class looked at YA fiction and how it has changed. I pretty much tuned out the million and one slides in the lecture, and when I did tune in, the only word I heard was “fangbang”.  Apparently this term is used to describe people in love with vampires.  Yep. My tuition dollars hard at work. The lecturer put up a cover of the book that I read a few months ago about teenage sexual relationships with your first cousin. I was the only one in the class who had read the book, so I was asked to give my thoughts on it. I didn’t really know how to respond to the questions considering the lecturer prefaced the question by saying it was one of the best books ever written for children. I don’t even know if I answered the question. I’m not even sure if I could.

I will now go back to the safe world of children’s fairytales where no one is having sex with their first cousins and there are no fangbangs to speak of. In two weeks the class will be over, thus ending my classroom career at the University of Edinburgh. I can’t believe the time is almost here. I’m starting to think about the next step. I have a vague idea of my dissertation topic, and hopefully after next week I will have a solid return date.

Of course I am thinking of joining the circus. That may prolong my return date.

A Scampaversary

Today marks the one year anniversary of A Scamp Abroad. The first official public post is March 26th, but today marks the day when my mommy and I returned from the first trip here and I had settled my mind on moving here. I started this little treasure that night, but I have decided to keep the first few private. There are just some things that people do not need to read.

It’s been quite a year. I’ve had quite an adventure. Three papers and my dissertation stand between me and my degree. That’s it. I’m not really sure where the time went, but if all goes according to plan, I’ll be back in Orange County in  2 months. I already miss the friends I have made here. I know that the next few weeks are going to be very busy. I have loads of reading to do, and loads of work to prepare, but since I am still focused on problems at home, I have found that no real work is getting done. Luckily I find the topics interesting, so when I do find the motivation to work, I do not think it will be too difficult to get things done. In the last month I have developed some really bad habits where food and sleep are concerned, so I am going to try and break those too. I’ll also be practicing my crow pose.

In the meantime, I’ve finished (and for the most part survived) the cultural sensitivity class. While the last class was completely pointless, I am proud to say that I did not miss a single class. I have a lot to make up for since most of the time I tuned out what the lecturer  was actually saying, but my butt was in a seat every Wednesday. I really like the final assignment, and as much as I didn’t care for the lecturer, I feel that she will be a fair grader, so with a little effort and a lot of research, I feel that I will do well in the class. I submitted a feedback form suggesting that the class may be handled in a different manner next semester. Under the “advice for a student taking the class in the future” question, I simply said, choose another class.

I hope that wasn’t too bitchy….


A Scamp Keeps it Moving

This is one of my favorite songs. I have a deep love for A Tribe Called Quest, but I have an even deeper love for anything that spells my name out in a song.

Lately I have been trying to live the song, keep it movin’. What “it” is, I am not so sure, but I am just trying to put one foot in front of the other and make it through the day. The high from my birthday has worn off a bit, and I have found myself sliding back into my mopey ways. I have an assignment due Wednesday that is still not ready to go, and one due Friday that still needs editing. The only thing I managed to do today was my laundry and watch Big Bang Theory. The snow and wind didn’t help, but I have lost my motivation again. After the wonderful dinner I had tonight, my only urge is to curl up in bed with some chocolate and the psychological thriller I checked out from the library.

On the upside, Wednesday is the last day of the cultural sensitivity class. After Wednesday, I will never have to worry about hearing how awful I am because I am American, or because I am Jewish, never have to try and keep myself awake at 9 am, and never have to read anther article written by the professor.

hmmmm…..suddenly I am feeling a lot better about the week.

A Scamp and Her Mom

Today is Mother’s Sunday in Scotland, and that is as good a reason as any to dedicate a post to my mommy. She is definitely my favorite person, and I am very lucky to have as good a relationship with her as I do.

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One of the things that I like most about my mom is that her smile has been the same since she was a kid. This is her with my grandma. If you look at pictures of my mom know, you can see a lot of my grandma in her.


My mom has always been a hottie. I don’t know how she managed to do it, but she skipped over the awkward phase that many of us had (and in my case, are still having).



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My mother is really the only person that understands me. We laugh at things that other people don’t understand, we do ridiculous things that no one wants to do, and we basically have fun with whatever comes our way.


A year ago she took four days off, bought two plane tickets, and brought me to Scotland so that I could take a campus tour of the college I applied to on a whim. After she tried to talk to me about the practical side of things, like where I was going to get the money? Where was I going to live? What was I going to do about my job and my apartment in San Diego? she decided to embrace my need for an adventure. She cosigned my loan. is storing my stuff, and always makes sure that I have enough cash in my account to feed myself when dorm food becomes too much for me to handle.



She lost her mom almost 20 years ago. Because of that, she has worked really hard to keep us all together as a family. She lets us bitch and moan to her about our problems, offers us advice, corrects our homework, and supports us with a fierce loyalty that most people wish they had.

She is my best friend, my favorite person, and all around just plain awesome.